One of the factors that led me to conclude that I could walk away from email for the month was the emergence of Google+. It’s yet another network where people can now message me if they need to get ahold of me.
Further, Google+ makes Gmail look like even more of a dog. To be clear, Gmail is still the best email service out there — but it’s also still an email service. It’s a service based around technology that is decades old. And while Google has put a better front-end on email and added the killer search functionality, compared to tools like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc, email seems a bit like watching black and white television in a world of 1080p flatscreens. I hate it. I’d like it to die.
And Google may help.
Mark Striebeck, Google’s Engineering Manager for Gmail, left a public note in Google+ yesterday letting everyone know that Google is already working on integrating Google+ into Gmail. Specifically, he cites “several Gmail / Google+ integrations” in the works. At the same time, he wants to use Google+’s new Hangouts group chat feature to get ideas and feedback on how the integration should work. Tomorrow on Google+, Striebeck’s team will hold a brainstorming session. Here are his main questions for the integration discussion:
I’m pretty sure that all of you use some email client – many probably Gmail. But regardless of the client:
– What email features would make it easier to interact with Google+?
– How could we integrate Google+ features into Gmail?
– How can we integrate social concepts in Gmail to make the email experience itself better?
Those are all key questions. It seems as if the Gmail team is not only thinking about simple, surface-level integrations with Google+, but also deeper use of the technology behind the service to fundamentally alter Gmail. I’m all for that.
But wait, wouldn’t such integration just be another Google Buzz or Google Wave? If Google handles it as poorly as they did with those services, sure. But all indications right now are that Google has no intention of handling anything about Google+ poorly. Love or hate Google+ itself, it’s pretty clear that Google is firing on all cylinders with this project. And there’s every reason to believe that this will continue into the Gmail integration.
If handled correctly, Google+ could actually be the fastest service ever to go from 0 to 100 million users, as Bill Gross predicted earlier today. But that’s still a long ways off, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here. I just want a better email experience if and when I do come back to email.
Previously, I outlined exactly what I’d like to see from Gmail — that is, Gmail Lite – that still stands. But if I can’t have that, I’ll settle for Gmail with deep Google+ integration.
Update: Due to a “crush of interest”, Striebeck has posted on a slightly altered plan for feedback tomorrow.